UnicodeDecodeError: “ascii” codec can”t decode byte 0xe2 in position 13: ordinal not in range(128)


I"m using NLTK to perform kmeans clustering on my text file in which each line is considered as a document. So for example, my text file is something like this:

belong finger death punch <br>
hasty <br>
mike hasty walls jericho <br>
jägermeister rules <br>
rules bands follow performing jägermeister stage <br>

Now the demo code I"m trying to run is this:

import sys

import numpy
from nltk.cluster import KMeansClusterer, GAAClusterer, euclidean_distance
import nltk.corpus
from nltk import decorators
import nltk.stem

stemmer_func = nltk.stem.EnglishStemmer().stem
stopwords = set(nltk.corpus.stopwords.words("english"))

def normalize_word(word):
    return stemmer_func(word.lower())

def get_words(titles):
    words = set()
    for title in job_titles:
        for word in title.split():
    return list(words)

def vectorspaced(title):
    title_components = [normalize_word(word) for word in title.split()]
    return numpy.array([
        word in title_components and not word in stopwords
        for word in words], numpy.short)

if __name__ == "__main__":

    filename = "example.txt"
    if len(sys.argv) == 2:
        filename = sys.argv[1]

    with open(filename) as title_file:

        job_titles = [line.strip() for line in title_file.readlines()]

        words = get_words(job_titles)

        # cluster = KMeansClusterer(5, euclidean_distance)
        cluster = GAAClusterer(5)
        cluster.cluster([vectorspaced(title) for title in job_titles if title])

        # NOTE: This is inefficient, cluster.classify should really just be
        # called when you are classifying previously unseen examples!
        classified_examples = [
                cluster.classify(vectorspaced(title)) for title in job_titles

        for cluster_id, title in sorted(zip(classified_examples, job_titles)):
            print cluster_id, title

(which can also be found here)

The error I receive is this:

Traceback (most recent call last):
File "cluster_example.py", line 40, in
words = get_words(job_titles)
File "cluster_example.py", line 20, in get_words
File "", line 1, in
File "/usr/local/lib/python2.7/dist-packages/nltk/decorators.py", line 183, in memoize
result = func(*args)
File "cluster_example.py", line 14, in normalize_word
return stemmer_func(word.lower())
File "/usr/local/lib/python2.7/dist-packages/nltk/stem/snowball.py", line 694, in stem
word = (word.replace(u"u2019", u"x27")
UnicodeDecodeError: "ascii" codec can"t decode byte 0xe2 in position 13: ordinal not in range(128)

What is happening here?

Answer rating: 58

This works fine for me.

f = open(file_path, "r+", encoding="utf-8")

You can add a third parameter encoding to ensure the encoding type is "utf-8"

Note: this method works fine in Python3, I did not try it in Python2.7.